December 28th, 2008
04:56 PM ET
4 years ago

Laura Bush ‘wasn’t amused’ by shoe incident

Laura Bush spoke out about the shoe incident in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday.'
Laura Bush spoke out about the shoe incident in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday.'

(CNN) - First Lady Laura Bush said that although she “wasn’t amused” when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at her husband, she sees the incident as a sign that “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”

Earlier this month, an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush during a news conference in Baghdad. Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head.

“It was an assault. And that's what it is,” the first lady said in an interview that aired Sunday on “Fox News.”

“And the president laughed it off. He wasn't hurt. He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete. And that's it. But on the other hand, it is an assault, and I think it should be treated that way,” she said.

During the incident, the shoe-thrower - identified as Muntadhar al-Zaidi – could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!" Al-Zaidi is an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network.

Hurling shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.

Asked if she thinks someone who attacks another person should be released, Bush said, “that’s going to be up to the Iraqis.”

“And they'll do whatever. But I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn't have been released. And he probably wouldn't - you know, would have been executed.

“So it is - as bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves,” she said.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi goes on trial Wednesday (Dec. 31) on charges of assaulting a foreign leader. Conviction could mean a prison sentence of up to two years.


Filed under: George W. Bush • Laura Bush • Popular Posts
soundoff (621 Responses)
  1. LIGHTS VALE

    Be happy it was only shoes, Laura...

    your husband, his father and all their cronies are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and a global meltdown of economy.

    Besides, you can look forward to playing house and shutting the world out as per your usual; after all, none of you are willing to bear the vaguest semblance of accountability; as a matter of fact, I doubt you even care beyond your bank book.

    December 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. rlkidd

    bush should just stay home, he has ruined thrcredibility of the United states.
    What a loser.

    December 28, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. renee

    The first lady may not have been amused but I LMOA!!!!!!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Bush Air Forces

    I love the spin. It's because of their freedom that they did this. Bush is a natural athlete.

    It happened because of the views on Bush–effigy circumstances have been occurring for many years. It's only a shame that they did this to our President as the man is about to leave office. I guess a great percentage of Americans aren't the only people who feel that he did something atrocious by going to war in Iraq when Bin Laden has been further east the entire time.

    I love the spin of the First Lady, however. She's a loyal wife to her husband.

    December 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. renee

    I mean LMAO ha ha

    December 28, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Paros

    OMG – The shoe thrower has been tortured in prison and all Laura can think about is not how horrid things are in Iraq that would push someone to the brink of facing a severe and long term imprisonment but she thinks her lovely husband has jprovided more "freedom" to the Iraqis thus permitting the journalist to feel comfortable and "free" enought to hurl shoes at POTUS. Slightly self-serving and narcissistic perhaps Laura.

    December 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Mike

    Laura Bush can thank the US press and the US Congress for indicating that it is ok to disrespect the President of the United States.

    December 28, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Lisa

    Most of America (over 75%) is looking forward to the end of this administration. The shoes are just a symptom of a broader issue–an unjust war, an administration that has abused its power, a party led by zealots and a VP that calls the shots (regardless of the law)....so please return to Texas so we can go on with rebuilding this country and our reputation in the world.

    December 28, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. debbie

    She's worth 1,000 of her husband.

    December 28, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Derek

    pfffff...... i was amused by the shoe incident.

    December 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Nancy Smith

    The Iraqi journalist who threw shoes to President Bush because he had no other weapons with him! Yea yea.. its a sign of disdain, but if he had a gun, he couldve used it, thanks to security near presidents and other prominent people!

    December 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Prashant

    Muntadhar al-Zaidi was not a lunatic fanatic who just threw a shoe or two at President Bush because of his religious affiliation.He was a journalist who have covered the mayhem and destruction in IRAQ on a daily basis and was shocked to see what was happening in IRAQ.Innocent people being butchered ,children being burned and orphaned and women being raped by extremists .Also we need to accept the FACT that the whole invasion of IRAQ was carried out on a FALSE premise and after such an invasion the destruction in IRAQ as a result of extremists gaining control of IRAQ who were never present in IRAQ.Also we in America have to imagine ourselves in the shoes of such people .It is the anger and pain that they have experienced over years which prompts them indulge in such incidents.Most people in America have the freedom but not the people in IRAQ.I agree with Laura Bush's remarks that the Journalist would have been executed under Saddam but i don't think his actions call for condemnation.I hope he is released as soon as possible and every effort is made to look into what motivated him to do what he did.

    December 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Joe the Plumber

    Why did you use an ellipsis to censor out that it was for the widows and orphans? Just leaving it as "this is a farewell...you dog", i dont think that was quite what he was going for.

    December 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    This guy deserves more than just shoes.

    December 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. kevin white

    Many of us have not been amused by Iraq, Laura...

    December 28, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Rich

    Boo-hoo.

    December 28, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Bobby

    I don't like any President reguardless of party affilation being abused in such a fashion. However you reap what you sew, how devistating it must be for the people of Iraq to have lost so much in terms of life and
    hope centered around An Adminstration lies and distortions.High crimes comes to mind for Cheny and Bush they get what they derserve.
    NO MORE REPUBLICANS can't vote them out fast enough for me...

    December 28, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. chuck

    laura just say good bye.Enough is Enough,he deserves it.George Bush is NFG.

    December 28, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. eddy

    yA LAURA HE'S A NATURAL ATHLETE.In track and field I guess.He's always running from key issues.BYE,Bye Bushes.

    December 28, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. divitius

    “And they'll do whatever. But I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn't have been released. And he probably wouldn't — you know, would have been executed.

    “So it is — as bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves,” she said."

    Um, Pickles you do know the guy was tortured, right? Ain't nothing changed in that country but the names on the doors.

    December 28, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Abid

    It may be true in Arab culture but to equate it Islamic culture ignorance.

    December 28, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Mrs. Bush is right the journalist would have been executed if Saddam were alive. But I still found it amusing. W deserved it.

    December 28, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Jeff in Illinois

    If Hu Jintao decided he wanted to spread communism to the United States, and set up the conditions to die, whether by starvation or violence, at 10 times the rate we were under President Bush, I would not feel a bit of remorse about throwing a shoe at the (theoretical) foreign warlord. Neither should the patriot reporter.

    December 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Sean

    She is just as stupid as her husband. Iraqis do not feel a lot freer to express themselves.....They are suffering so much and lost so many beloved ones by her husband's stupidity.

    December 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Bill in Georgia

    She probably will have him sent to Gitmo and eventually he will "accidentally" die

    December 28, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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